I am always excited when the new academic year begins.

Much work has taken place over the holidays with new windows installed in our grade two listed building. There has also been painting throughout and some refurbishment of carpets.

My new year started on the 14th August with another set of excellent A level results. We were particularly pleased that Harry Hewett was accepted to study Classics at Cambridge, but all the boys did well and they all have places at good Universities. The value-added scores will again be excellent for this cohort. This was followed by the GCSE results from our largest Year 11 cohort. Given this was our most mixed ability cohort, I was pleased that they did so well and that we had supported those with special educational needs so comprehensively. A special thank you to Ms Wood, Mrs Wren and their excellent team for their work of true devotion.

Our exciting new staff appointments have received their induction training and are looking forward to delivering dynamic and inspirational lessons. I always say that no one finds themselves at St James without good reason; the school has a special energy that demands the very best from both our pupils and teachers.

Our form teachers (your first line of contact should a concern arise) are well supported by our new heads of Year: Mr Deb for Year 7; Mr Fraser for Year 8; Mr Bridge for Year 9; Mr Jeffreys for Year 10. They are overseen by Mr James Johnson, Assistant Head for Pastoral Care. All can be contacted by telephone, e-mail or, if necessary, appointment. Academic matters are the responsibility of the Heads of Department overseen by Dr Stephen Roberts and Mrs Lorraine Soares. Issues that cannot be solved at these levels should be brought to the attention of my Deputy Head, Mr David Beezadhur and finally myself as Headmaster.

Our priorities this year are pupil behaviour and particularly positive learning behaviours. Senior Management Team members will be a real presence in lessons and we will be ensuring that all pupils are maximising their potential. Dr Roberts will be scrutinising the homework teachers set and ensuring it is meaningful and enriching. He will also ensure it is posted on Firefly at the end of each day. He will be pleased to accept feedback on any of these matters.

We have redesigned the Clubs sessions and have a plethora of exciting activities for Year 7 & 8 to explore and enjoy. Year 9 -13 have a programme of Facino Society talks each Wednesday given by external speakers, parents and staff. Please let me know if you would like to offer a talk.

This article is getting rather long - there is just so much to tell you, so I had better sign off now. I will endeavour to stretch minds and imaginations each week in these articles as I have in previous years - enjoy!